As we slide into the early summer months, many of us are still opting to wine and dine at home to help stop the pandemic’s spread. To keep up with the increasing demand for well-crafted cocktails, Austin bars and restaurants have mastered the art of shaking up seasonal libations to go. It’s a tough job, but we managed to scour the city for the best, most mood-lifting summery cocktails in town. But before you fill your virtual cart for the next backyard happy hour, keep in mind that state law requires customers to order at least one food item along with your boozy treat. You can often find fun (and cheap) snack items on offer, from marinated olives to spiced nuts.
For a taste of new and old
This North Loop gastropub has always had a flair for innovating, while maintaining a deep connection with its loyal regulars. We like the rustic, pisco-based selection Bloodless Coup, with its tropical undertones of pineapple, lime, and pomegranate bitters. But you can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned gimlet, the tart and tangy, classic gin-based treat with a boozy kick. Drinks are available in eight- or sixteen-ounce bottles. Curbside pickup orders can be placed online.
For a hangover-free morning
The mastermind mixologists behind The Roosevelt Room, located in the center of downtown, have culled the bar’s extensive menu to offer a curated list of to-go cocktails. Classic picks such as Negronis and margaritas are available in 8.5- and 25-ounce options. And for those looking for a tropical nonalcoholic option, the Castaway is a dreamy concoction of coconut cream, mint, lime, and ginger beer. Pickup orders are available daily between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.
For a first date with a film buff
This East Side favorite for creative craft cocktails has just released a new spring menu with a lineup of libations inspired by Quentin Tarantino films. We like the tiki-style Five Dollar Milkshake made with rum, vanilla, coconut cream, apricot, and pineapple. (Note: this isn’t an actual milkshake, just a boozy cocktail paying homage to the Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction.) The Snake Oil is a smooth sipper made with vanilla-infused rye, coffee liqueur, and Averna amaro.
For a party trick
Though it’s hard to beat cocktail hour on the shady patio of this MLK favorite, Contigo has managed to heed the call for to-go treats, with frozen and canned options available in different sizes. We took advantage of the half-gallon size of the fruity Frozen Guava Margarita to share with friends. For a smaller affair, try the four-pack of single-serving On the Way Home gin cocktails blended with pomegranate juice, citrus, and a little jalapeño-pepper heat. Though the restaurant has reopened for dine-in service, pickup and drive-through orders are still an option.
For a staycation
The Mediterranean-inspired menu at this new SoCo favorite hits the spot as we transition into warmer months. Though classic snacks such as house-made hummus and charred eggplant are fantastic takeaway options, boozy libations are also on hand. Our favorite is the Mediterranean Mule. A breezy take on the classic Moscow mule, this refreshing sipper has an herbaceous punch from rosemary-infused vodka, and that customary spicy, ginger-beer finish we love about this classic cocktail. Order from the online food menu.
For a glass of Cajun hospitality
Though Vic & Al’s is most noted for its authentic Cajun-style cuisine, it’s not uncommon to have one of the staff offer you a taste of something from the cocktail menu before you leave. This friendly, laid-back hospitality is just part of the charm, but don’t worry, you can order the restaurant’s tasty libations to go as well. Try the Orange Drink: though the name sounds a bit simple, this tequila-fueled cocktail, made with carrot juice, orange juice, spicy bitters, and ginger-cayenne syrup, offers quite a kick.
For a touch of class
Located in the heart of downtown, Small Victory earns a gold star for fine-tuning the cocktails-at-home trend. The classic martini is one of the best in town, and the take-home version is no exception. We like gin, but you can opt for vodka instead. The tropical-themed Painkiller also packs a punch with pineapple, orange juice, coconut cream, and a blend of overproof rums. Drinks are available in eight-, twelve-, and sixteen-ounce options, and you’ll also find an excellent selection of wines and house-made syrups for mixing your own drinks. Curbside hours are Wednesday through Saturday, and orders are easily placed online.